School District 23
Mike Sitter
Outstanding Teacher 2016-17

School District 23
Debi Knutson
Outstanding Classified Personnel 2016-17





Qia Harlan, Landin Zimmerer


Taylor Bloofield, Gwen Seeley


Keyan Dalby, Savannah Houle


Kyler Lundeen, Hope Unger

Robert Owen
hislop   smith
Robert Hislop   Larry Smith

Bob Owen among MCA Hall of Fame inductees

Bob Owen is one of six Montana coaches being inducted by the Montana Coaches Association into the MCA Hall of Fame. In Montana sports, the name Owen is as closely linked to wrestling as Petrino is to football. Bob Owen began his remarkable career 44 years ago at Billings Central. After a one-year stint, he stepped into the head wrestling position at Polson (1975) and 43 years later he’s still there.

With more than 400 career wins on the mat, Coach Owen leads the state in wrestling wins. Under Owen’s watch, the Pirates have garnered 17 divisional trophies, including eight championships and eight State trophies, two of which were state titles.

Bob is a two-time MCA Coach of the Year and was a NHSACA Wrestling Finalist in 2011. For seven years, Owen coached the Montana HS USAW National Team. He has served on the MHSA Sports Committee since 1990 and is the current chairman.

The induction ceremony will be a part of the 11:30 a.m. MCA Awards Ceremony (in conjunction with the MCA Coaches Clinic), on Thursday, Aug. 2, in the CMR High Auditorium in Great Falls. Family and friends are invited. All attendees are invited to a complimentary luncheon in the cafeteria immediately following the ceremony.

Congratulations to our local, long-serving, and outstanding coach.

Tennis coach Robert Hislop honored

The Montana Coaches Association is pleased to announce that Robert Hislop, tennis coach at Polson High School, along with 13 other Montana coaches and one athletic director, have been selected as “finalists” for National Coach or AD of the Year, by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. This is a tremendous honor for Montana and for each of these well-deserved individuals. Finalists will be honored during The National Coach of the Year Awards Banquet, which will take place at the NHSACA National Convention in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on the evening of June 27. The highlight of the banquet will be the naming of the NHSACA National Coach of the Year in nineteen recognized sports categories. The nominees and finalists are evaluated by experts in the field of coaching, using a sport-specific rubric to assign points in each category. NHSACA was formed by coaches, for coaches, and has been recognizing National Coaches of the Year since 1978. Friends, family and fellow coaches are encouraged to attend the NHSACA Convention and Award Ceremony.

Coach Smith elected to MCA HOF

Larry was elected to the Montana Coaches Hall of Fame in 2017 in recognition of his contributions to Montana High School athletics. Coach Smith has guided the Pirates softball team as head man the past 29 years and helped Polson capture seven state titles.

When Polson High School softball coach Larry Smith was first hired by Dennis Jones and Bud Veis as the head softball coach in 1988 he was asked by the Pirates’ administrators “if he could field a competitive team.”

Smith responded simply to the question: “that’s correct!”

“When I applied for the job I felt like I could make Polson competitive immediately,” Smith said. “I was able to accomplish that right away. After the guy who I was helping out for two seasons prior stepped down, I applied for it. I got the job and I’ve had it ever since.”

The school administrator who hired Smith probably couldn’t have envisioned the next 29 seasons would include 11 conference titles, seven state titles, a nine-time Montana Coaches Association Coach Of The Year honors and a 5-time winner, and is still the Polson coach at 75. He was also named Regional COY four times and was a National High School Association Coaches Association National finalist three times as as thirty year member of the MCA.


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